Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Tolbert v. Scruggs

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

October 17, 2019

DARIUS VASHON TOLBERT, Plaintiff,
v.
PATRICK SCRUGGS, et al., Defendants.

         ORDER DENYING AS MOOT “DEFENDANT PATRICK SCRUGGS' MOTION TO DISMISS COMPLAINT WITH PREJUDICE AND SUPPORTING MEMORANDUM OF LAW;” AND ORDER GRANTING “DEFENDANT PATRICK SCRUGGS' RENEWED MOTION TO DISMISS WITH PREJUDICE AND SUPPORTING MEMORANDUM OF LAW”

          TOM BARBER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on “Defendant Patrick Scruggs' Motion to Dismiss Complaint with Prejudice and Supporting Memorandum of Law, ” filed by counsel on June 26, 2019. (Doc. # 6). On September 20, 2019, Mr. Scruggs filed “Defendant Patrick Scruggs' Renewed Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice and Supporting Memorandum of Law.” (Doc. # 18). Plaintiff Darius Vashon Tolbert did not file a response to either motion. After reviewing the motions, court file, and the record, the Court finds as follows:

         Because Mr. Scruggs filed a renewed motion to dismiss on September 20, 2019, the Court denies his June 26, 2019, motion as moot. This Order substantively addresses only the September 20, 2019, motion to dismiss.

         Background

         Mr. Tolbert was criminally prosecuted for stealing Social Security benefits checks by the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida in the case styled United States v. Tolbert, No. 8:16-cr-145-T-23EAJ (M.D. Fla). Defendant Patrick Scruggs served as lead counsel in the prosecution. Defendant Benjamin Stetschulte represented Mr. Tolbert in the criminal case.

         On August 11, 2016, a jury convicted Mr. Tolbert of theft of government property (more than one thousand dollars) (a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641) and theft or receipt of stolen mail matter (a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1708). In May 2017, Mr. Tolbert was sentenced to fifty-two months imprisonment. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed Mr. Tolbert's convictions and sentences, issuing its mandate on May 30, 2018. It appears that Mr. Tolbert engaged in a number of unsuccessful challenges to his convictions both during and after his direct appeal.

         Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) requires that a complaint contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing the [plaintiff] is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). “Although Rule 8(a) does not require ‘detailed factual allegations,' it does require ‘more than labels and conclusions'; a ‘formulaic recitation of the cause of action will not do.'” Young v. Lexington Ins. Co., No. 18-62468, 2018 WL 7572240, at *1 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 6, 2018), report and recommendation adopted, No. 18-62468-CIV, 2019 WL 1112274 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 9, 2019) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)). In order to survive a motion to dismiss, factual allegations must be sufficient “to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.

         When deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, review is generally limited to the four corners of the complaint. Rickman v. Precisionaire, Inc., 902 F.Supp. 232, 233 (M.D. Fla. 1995). Furthermore, when reviewing a complaint for facial sufficiency, a court “must accept [a] [p]laintiff's well pleaded facts as true, and construe the [c]omplaint in the light most favorable to the [p]laintiff. Id. (citing Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)).

         As Mr. Tolbert is proceeding pro se, the Court more liberally construes the pleadings. Alba v. Montford, 517 F.3d 1249, 1252 (11th Cir. 2018). However, a pro se plaintiff must still conform with procedural rules and the Court does not have “license to act as de facto counsel” on behalf of a pro se plaintiff. United States v. Padgett, 917 F.3d 1312, 1317 (11th Cir. 2019). While the Court typically provides a pro se plaintiff with at least one opportunity to amend his complaint where the issues presented are procedural or drafting errors, the Court may dismiss a pro se plaintiff's claim with prejudice “where a more carefully drafted complaint could not state a claim and is, therefore, futile.” Carter v. HSBC Mortg. Servs., Inc., 622 Fed.Appx. 783, 786 (11th Cir. 2015); see In re Kachkar, 769 Fed.Appx. 673, 682 (11th Cir. 2019).

         Analysis

         The Court initially notes that the allegations of Mr. Tolbert's complaint are largely incoherent but appear to challenge his convictions and sentences in various ways. Mr. Tolbert sets forth a textbook example of a shotgun pleading where (1) it is unclear what act or omission each Defendant is alleged to have committed and (2) he includes several claims for relief within each numbered count. See Weiland v. Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, 792 F.3d 1313, 1322-23 (11th Cir. 2015); Jackson v. Bank of America, N.A., 898 F.3d 1348, 1356-57 (11th Cir. 2018).

         At this time, the Court focuses only on claims against Mr. Scruggs. The Court has thoroughly reviewed the complaint and the following ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.